In the NHL players come and go, but every once in a while there are those special few, players that define the game itself and change it in ways that never seemed possible, players like Bobby Orr. At the time of Orr’s arrival, defenseman played defense, they were all your typical stay at home guys like a modern-day Robyn Regehr or Adam McQuaid. Bobby Orr was different, leading the offensive rushes up the ice, he revolutionized the defensive position and his style of play gave birth to the offensive defenseman.
After taking the league by storm in 1967, Orr would begin to led a resurgence in the Boston Bruins franchise. As his profile rose, so did that of the Bruins and they followed him into every game. Following Orr’s impressive rookie season it was Harry Howell of the New York Rangers who upon winning his first Norris Trophy said “I’m glad I won this award now because I expect it’s going to belong to Bobby Orr from now on.” Howell was right, Bobby Orr would not only win the Norris Trophy for best defenseman the following season, but 7 consecutive times after that.
During the 69-70 NHL season Orr would double his numbers from last season, becoming the first defenseman to score 30 goals in a season. He would also become the first defenseman in history to lead the NHL in scoring. Orr led the Bruins to the playoffs for the third consecutive season where they would face the New York Rangers. The Bruins beat the Rangers in 6 games and would face the Chicago Blackhawks in next round. The Blackhawks themselves led by their young star, goaltender Tony Esposito. Despite Esposito’s impressive regular season performance which earned him a Vezina, the Bruins would sweep the Hawks.
Led by Orr the Bruins would face the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Bruins would sweep the Blues in 4 games with who else, but Bobby Orr scoring the cup clinching goal. As he Soared through the air in celebration, Orr had delivered the Stanley Cup to Boston for the first time in 30 years. It was this goal, a give and go between Derek Sanderson and himself, that would cement Bobby’s legacy in Boston and the hockey world.
To make this accomplishment even more incredible, Bobby Orr would become the first and only player to this day to win the Art Ross, the Hart Memorial, the James Norris, a Stanley Cup Championship, and the Conn Smythe awarded to the MVP of the playoffs in one season. While there are many who refer to Wayne Gretzky as the “Great One”, I would bet my bottom dollar that if someone were to ask Gretzky whom he thinks the “Great One” is, he would say without hesitation”Bobby Orr”.